The Voice of Suffering

Adorno-305x400A Philosophy Workshop Sponsored by the PSE Northern Group


What is the relationship between the pursuit of truth and the expression of the suffering? Has philosophy tended to ignore or smooth over the negative – suffering, evil, the irrational – in the pursuit of clarity and truth?

Theodor Adorno wrote “The need to lend a voice to suffering is a condition of all truth” (Negative Dialectics, pp. 17 – 18). If, as Socrates once suggested, philosophy can be defined as the midwife to truth, does it have a duty to engage with devastation and sorrow?

Art, rather than philosophy, it may be said, takes up the task of confronting or invoking suffering and sorrow. Explanations of how and why we suffer are not the same as its depiction or expression. What, then, connects the pursuit of truth with the urgency to lend suffering a voice?


Saturday, 17th September, 2016 10.30 am – 6.00 pm at The Methodist Hall, Alnmouth, Northumberland.

The workshop will be led by Michael; Bavidge and Nicky Brignell of Newcastle University. If you would like to join us please enrol by contacting Michael Bavidge, 6 Craghall Dene Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1QR

Fee: £15 payable on the day

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About Michael Bavidge

Michael Bavidge was a lecturer in philosophy at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Newcastle University. For ten years before he retired, he ran the Adult Education Programme at the university. He has written on psychopathy and the law, pain and suffering, and animal minds. With Ian Ground he wrote 'Do Animals Need a 'Theory of Mind?' which appeared in Against Theory of Mind edited by Ivan Laudar and Alan Costall (2009). Suffering and Choice in Pain, Suffering and Healing ed, Peter Wemyss-Gorman (2011).

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